Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution / Edition 2

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Overview

The ideal of a neutral, objective press has proven in recent years to be just that—an ideal. In Governing with the News, Timothy E. Cook goes far beyond the single claim that the press is not impartial to argue that the news media are in fact a political institution integral to the day-to-day operations of our government. This updated edition includes a new afterword by the author, which pays close attention to two key developments in the twenty-first century: the accelerating fragmentation of the mass media and the continuing decline of Americans' confidence in the press.

"Provocative and often wise. . . . Cook, who has a complex understanding of the relationship between governing and the news, provides a fascinating account of the origins of this complicity."—James Bennet, Washington Monthly

"[Governing with the News] addresses central issues of media impact and power in fresh, illuminating ways. . . . Cook mines a wealth of historical and organizational literature to assert that the news media are a distinct political institution in our democratic system."—Robert Schmuhl, Commonweal

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Editorial Reviews

Jeffery J. Mondak
...an impressive treatise on American news media...Cook develops his model of media so skillfully that this reader was anxious for more....Governing with the News deserves to be influential, and readers should respond to it with innovative research and policy.
— Political Science Quarterly
Jay Rosen
A dead-on analysis. . . Governing with the News is a model of engaged scholarship. If fully reckoned wtih, it could lgith a path toward public policy for an improved press. Whether the polity or the profession is up to it is another question. But the task just got easier. —The Nation
Library Journal
Cook has written before on the media in U.S. congressional and Presidential politics. His latest book offers an overall theory of the interconnectivity between the mass media and the American political process. Cook begins historically, summarizing how the nascent federal government used postal regulations to encourage an engaged, although not necessarily purely free, press. As journalism became more professionalized and less overtly partisan, it increasingly involved itself in news makinganticipating events that seem newsworthy, that translate now into 'soundbites' rather than news reporting. Cook believes that one consequence of media actors basing their reporting on high-level government sources is presentation of an authorized version of the news, reflecting what political actors need to have reported. This rather dry work is tightly argued, and though the media bashes the media for not being 'objective,' casual readers will find little evidence of that tension here. -- .Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr College Library, Pennsylvania
Library Journal
Cook political science, Williams Coll.; Making Laws and Making News, Brookings, 1989 has written before on the media in U.S. congressional and presidential politics. His latest book offers an overall theory of the interconnectivity between the mass media and the American political process. Cook begins historically, summarizing how the nascent federal government used postal regulations to encourage an engaged, although not necessarily purely free, press. As journalism became more professionalized and less overtly partisan, it increasingly involved itself in news makinganticipating events that seem newsworthy, that translate now into "soundbites"rather than news reporting. Cook believes that one consequence of media actors basing their reporting on high-level government sources is presentation of an authorized version of the news, reflecting what political actors need to have reported. This rather dry work is tightly argued, and though the media bashes the media for not being "objective," casual readers will find little evidence of that tension here. Recommended for academic libraries.Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.
Booknews
Attempts to make sense of the connection between media strategies and governing strategies through development of a new model of the reporter as a key participant in decision making and policy making and of the news media as a central political force in government. Early chapters interpret the historical record of the American news media, suggesting that its evolution has always been and continues to be intimately tied to political sponsorship, subsidization, and protection. Later chapters develop a model of the news media as institutional and political, address the implications of viewing newspersons as political actors, outline the uses of news for governmental actors, and explore problems of political capacity and accountability in the news media.
Jay Rosen
A dead-on analysis. . . Governing with the News is a model of engaged scholarship. If fully reckoned wtih, it could lgith a path toward public policy for an improved press. Whether the polity or the profession is up to it is another question. But the task just got easier. -- The Nation
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Timothy Cook is professor of mass communication and political science and holds the Kevin P. Reilly, Sr., Chair of Political Communication at the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University. He is coauthor of the award-winning Crosstalk: Citizens, Candidates, and the Media in a Presidential Campaign, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction : why don't we call journalists political actors? 1
Pt. 1 The political development of the American news media 17
2 The decline of the sponsored press : American newspapers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries 20
3 The subsidized news media 38
Pt. 2 The media as a political institution 61
4 The institutional news media 63
5 The political news media 85
Pt. 3 Government by publicity 117
6 The uses of news : theory and presidential practice 120
7 Beyond the White House 141
8 Conclusion : the first amendment and the fourth branch - toward redesigning a news media policy 164
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